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NHS suffers while nurses do 'excessive paperwork'

01 May 2008

NHS suffers while nurses do 'excessive paperwork' The NHS must ensure that clerical staff support nurses by carrying out non-essential tasks, one industry body has said.

In response to a recent report released by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (Rec) has called on health chiefs to alleviate the burden of strain on frontline nursing staff.

This could be good news for student nurses as the strain on their profession may be addressed sooner rather than later.

The RCN report revealed that nurses spend more than one million hours a week on paperwork which prevents them from focusing on frontline care.

Nearly nine-tenths (88 per cent) of the 1,700 nurses polled found that non-essential tasks such as filing and photocopying had increased over the past five years but only one-fifth had seen an increase in administrative support to help meet the demand.

Launching the survey, Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: "Nurses are clearly feeling the burden of non-essential paperwork.

"The danger is that this is undermining their ability to care for patients and support relatives."

Commenting on the findings Peter Cullimore, chair of the Rec’s nursing and social care sector group, said that while the government is increasingly focusing on frontline delivery of healthcare services, it is essential to address "potential barriers" such as excessive paperwork.

"Recruiting the right people at the right time to do the right jobs is crucial if the NHS is to deliver the quality of care that patients expect," he concluded.

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